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Malawians aspire to have a science and technology-driven economy. This will be characterized by improved science and technology education, training and culture; increased commercialization of research and development (R&D); adaptation and promotion of new and emerging technologies; promotion of environmentally-sound technologies; existence of effective science and technology (S&T); and increased implementation and use of information technology (UT).


8.2.1 Improving Science and Technology Education, Training and Culture Strategic Challenge
The capacity of education and training institutions to meet the requirements of the country's technological development is currently low.

The challenges to be addressed in improving science and technology education, training and culture include: reviewing school curricula; promoting and encouraging skills training and development; and developing science and technology culture. Strategic Options
In order to meet the above challenges, the strategic options include:

  1. strengthening S&T education;
  2. introducing specialization in the teaching of science subjects;
  3. formalizing science curriculum in primary schools as a building block and prerequisite for secondary school science; redesigning curriculum so that physics, chemistry, and biology are taught separately;
  4. introducing and promoting computer studies;
  5. strengthening the teaching of technical subjects and emphasizing applied science;
  6. setting up scholarships for graduate studies in Malawi in priority areas;
  7. addressing the problem of brain drain from other sectors; and
  8. introducing S&T achievement awards.
8.2.2 Promotion and Commercialization of Research and Development Strategic Challenge
The current number of R&D personnel is unacceptably low. In addition, investment in R&D is also low.

The challenge is to promote R&D both by the publoic and the private sectors.

In order to promote the transfer of new and emerging technologies, the strategic challenges to be addressed include: attracting foreign direct investment and promoting technology transfer; establishing monitoring mechanisms for technology transfer; building capacity to assimilate technology; and protecting intellectual property-rights. Strategic Options
The strategic options to deal with the above challenges include:

  1. increasing private sector membership in National Research Council of Malawi (NRCM);
  2. reviewing the institutional framework for S&T;
  3. promoting and accelerating R&D dissemination and commercialization;
  4. increasing R&D funding to reach at least 1 percent of GDP;
  5. introducing an R&D levy on industry;
  6. according incentives for R&D activities;
  7. promoting deliberate import material substitution; and
  8. building and strengthening S&T institutional infrastructure.
8.2.3. Promoting the Transfer and Adaptation of New and Emerging Technologies Strategic Challenge
The technologies developed outside the country are mostly not suited to the country's circumstances. In addition, the country has little capacity to choose and adapt foreign technologies Strategic Options
To meet the above strategic challenges, the options include:

  1. identifying technologies that promote export-led industrialization;
  2. setting-up a framework for deliberate transfer of technology;
  3. improving collaboration in technology transfer;
  4. creating a mechanism for monitoring inflows of new and emerging technologies;
  5. establishing a science and technology intelligence unit;
  6. creating a data-base for technology transfer and use;
  7. reviewing the current intellectual property-rights laws and patent laws to safeguard inventions.
8.2.4. Promoting Environmentally-Sound Technologies Strategic Challenge
Most technologies have not been designed to take into account environmental concerns, and their indiscriminate use in Malawi could have disastrous environmental consequences.

The strategic challenges to be met include the following: making information available; reviewing available regulation and enforcement; developing monitoring systems and programmes; introducing training programmes; and enhancing selection of environmentally-sound technologies. Strategic Options
The strategic options available for meeting the above challenges include:

  1. building and strengthening information networks at the national, sub-regional, and international levels;
  2. publicizing the existing Environmental Management Act (EMA) and other legal instruments;
  3. developing standards for environmentally-sound technologies;
  4. establishing an environmental monitoring programme;
  5. introducing environmental elements in the education curricula at all levels; and
  6. building capacity for the assessment of environmentally- sound technologies.
8.2.5 Achieving Effective Science and Technology Strategic Challenge
To be effective, science and technology need to be assimilated, diffused and used efficiently. Malawi lacks the necessary conditions for S&T assimilation and diffusion which include: well functioning information networks; availability of workers with the skills to assimilate technologies; adequate resources for the introduction of new products and services; conducive cultural practices; and existence of a comprehensive national S&T policy.

The strategic challenges to achieving effective S&T includes increasing the number of scientists and technologists; promoting effective transfer of technology; periodically evaluating the performance of S&T institutions; addressing gender issues in S&T; and developing a comprehensive national S&T Policy. Strategic Options
To meet the above challenges, the strategic options include:

  1. reducing the rate of attrition of S&T human resources;
  2. enhancing gender balance in science and technology-led development;
  3. expanding and encouraging education and training in science and engineering;
  4. increasing training of S&T educators at all levels;
  5. encouraging the establishment of private S&T oriented training institutions;
  6. reviewing the current S&T policy and developing a more comprehensive national S&T policy;
  7. establishing capabilities for technology negotiation; and
  8. periodically evaluating performance of S&T institutions.
8.2.6 Promoting Use of Information Technology Strategic Challenge
A developing country such as Malawi needs information technology to achieve development in all spheres of human endeavour. However, Malawi's use of information technology is too low to meet this objective. The strategic challenge is to promote the use of IT. Strategic Options
In order to address the strategic challenges facing Malawi in the area of IT, the options include:

  1. reviewing the Telecommunications Act to create an independent licensing body;
  2. improving investment opportunities in IT,
  3. removing monopolistic tendencies within IT industry;
  4. reducing tariffs on imported computers and parts to reduce costs;
  5. improving access to national and international information;
  6. introducing computers at early stages of education; and
  7. according duty-free importation of information technology equipment for use in private and public schools and colleges.
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